New York Times (Modified)

Some of the language and phrasing in this document has been modified from the original.

Head Note: Established in 1851, the New York Times provided investigative coverage of local New York issues and events, as well as national and international news.


Divers Will Inspect the Ship’s Hull to Find Out Whether the Explosion Was from the Outside or Inside.

Magazines of War Ships Sometimes Blow Up Because of Too Much Heat Inside – Hard to Blow Up the Magazine from the Outside.

It has been a busy day for the Navy Department. The war ship Maine was destroyed in Havana Harbor last night. Officials in Washington and Havana have been sending cables all night long. Secretary Long was asked whether he thought this was the work of the enemy. He replied: “I do not. I am influenced by the fact that Captain Sigsbee has not yet reported to the Navy Department. It seems he is waiting to write a full report. So long as he has not made a decision, I certainly cannot. I should think from the signs, however, that there was an accident – that the magazine exploded. How that came about I do not know. For the present, at least, no other war ship will be sent to Havana.”

Captain Schuley, who knows a great deal about war ships, did not entertain the idea that the Maine had been destroyed on purpose. He said that fires would sometimes start in the coal bunkers, and he told of such a fire on board another war ship that started very close to the magazine. The fire became so hot that the heat blistered the steel wall between the fire and the ammunition before the bunkers and magazine were flooded with water to stop the fire. He did not believe that the Spanish or Cubans in Havana had either the information or the equipment necessary to blow up the magazine, while the Maine was under guard.

[Some of the language and phrasing in this document has been modified from the original.]

Source: Excerpt from New York Times, February 17, 1898.